McMurdo Station, Antarctica

September 5, 2008

First I had to get to Antarctica. So we went the the deployment center they have here to get out ECW, Extreme Cold Weather Gear. 

After we were issued our gear we had a small briefing to sit through



All of us were heading to the same place Antarctica, McMurdo Station to be exact.



After the briefing you load up on a bus and head towards the run way.



We were flown down by the USAF, United States Air Force. They handle most all of the flights that pertain to the United States Antarctic Program.


This time we got to use a C-17



The inside of this thing was cavernous to say the least! It amazing how big an airplane is when there are no normal seats like on a passenger plane



It was about a 4 hour flight. During the flight everyone needs to wear ear plugs because the plane is very loud. It was also rather chilly riding in the cargo hold. At one point they let us into the cabin.



Finally we land at McMurdo and are picked up and taken to the main building, also the cafeteria, given a brief welcome and then taken to our rooms. 


This is the view

First Mt. Elbrus



 This is the bus that waits to pick you up!


I was scheduled to just stay in McMurdo for about a month before continuing on to the South Pole

In that month I was able to create plenty of trouble and have a lot of fun!


Everyday helicopters were taking people to some of the close field camps



I had an opportunity to go walk around on the frozen sea ice





All and all my stay in McMurdo was a fast one. I had a lot of work to do trying to get the station back up and operating at 100% before the main group of people came down. 

Here is an overall view of the station

Looking out from the storage yard they had

Alas I was there to work so here is some of what it took to get things back to 100% operational

The Electrical Shop

The cable we are stringing out above

Restring some power lines taken down before winter came

There was a tunnel under the road that needed some new conduit run in it…. I won that job

A crane to hook up to help with the Long Distance Balloon launches

Of course every job site needs a porta potty

I had a room with 5 other guys and we had plenty of fun making hallway parties and just in general enjoying life. Here we are all together but at the South Pole

I did have some fun to! At one point they let me take their out door survival course!!! It involves going out one Saturday and learning out to kepe warm if your stuck outdoors. You have to spend the night and make breakfast the next day!

There were about 30 students some were to stay in tents, others in Igloos and I decided to dig an ice cave

Here we had to make a wind break from blocks of ice 

Finally my snow cave!

It took about 2 hours of labour to dig. Once inside though I was oblivious to the outside world! The next morning when I woke up people were all in an uproar about the weather last night. I guess there was a huge storm and the teachers almost thought to bring everybody out of the weather….. I had no idea

Then there were the parties! God the parties. I can say I had my fair share of fun and excitement there.

We were drinking beer that had expired over a year prior

The month went way to fast and next thing you know I am headed to a plane to keep going to the South Pole. Saying good bye to many of the friends I had just made.